Over the past few weeks, 65 butchers have sharpened their knives for the regional stages of the 2016 Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year competition, with winners progressing to the Grand Final in August. Entrants showcased their impressive talent and skills during a practical cutting test, working on a pork shoulder, a size 20 chicken and a whole beef sirloin.

The Grand Final, to be held on August 25th at Shed 10, Auckland, will see NZ best young butchers vying for the national title through another cutting test, a written exam and an interview. Contestants from the Upper North Island will include Dan Klink of Mangawhai Meat Shop (winner of Alto Young Butcher) and Ben Nelson of The Aussie Butcher New Lynn (winner of Competenz Butcher Apprentice), as well as their runner-up Luka Young from Pak’nSave Lincoln Road and Daniel Johnson from New World Howick. Young is a ‘veteran’ of this event, having already been a runner-up in the 2015 Alto Young Butcher category and winner of the 2014 Competenz Butcher Apprentice category.

New World butchers have wiped out their opponents in the Waikato: Amy Jones from NW Taumarunui took home the Alto Young Butcher title, and Simon Rush from NW Glenview won the Competenz Butcher Apprentice category. In the South Island, Anthony Ross from Pak’nSave Rangiora was named as the best young butcher in the region. Having worked in the trade for more than ten years, Ross is a keen contender for the national title, but the same could be said of Ben Henry from New World Centre City (apprentice of the year), who will be travelling to Auckland for the third time.